Libraries and Leaders as Creators of Community

Shifting Our Story from Isolation to Ownership

Tim Schlak’s article grew out of a series of conversations with Peter, who advised on the content and structure of the paper and whose book Community: The Structure of Belonging provided the foundation of community building that Schlak adapts to a library leadership context.

In his abstract in the August 2020 issue of the Journal of Library Administration, Schlak writes:

Libraries have evolved from collections to convening spaces over the past 30 years and the next evolution of libraries will see library leaders and workers advance community building. Leveraging the centrality of their spaces and the appreciative view their communities extend, library leaders and workers can build on the authentic concern we hold for our community’s wellbeing by fostering libraries as places for community transformation, regardless of library type. This article applies a powerful methodology for building community that assumes that conventional ways societies realize change is flawed because it fails increasingly large numbers of our citizens, despite our collective efforts to double down on what is not working for most of us. The shift from a retributive agenda to a restorative one where citizens reclaim their power and leaders’ job is transformed from solving problems to convening powerful conversations becomes the work of libraries and leaders….

Read the full article here:

Home page image: alexsar982

About the Lead Author

Timothy M. Schlak
Timothy M. Schlak is Dean, University Library, Robert Morris University, and President, Board of Directors, Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc. He served on the team of the Pennsylvania higher ed consortium, Bridges and Pathways, that hosted Peter for a keynote in 2019 and used Peter’s Community: The Structure of Belonging as the “common read” for the academic year.

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